Saturday, August 15, 2015

Love is all around me.

I can vividly remember my first crush. I was five years old and I couldn't wait for Saturday when I could see Jack Wild in HR Pufnstuff.
I thought he had the cutest smile EVER.

Then came the day when we were walking to school and my brother said to me
"Are you going to watch HR Pufnstuff this weekend?"
"Of course I am!" I retorted.
"No you're NOT!", he announced gleefully. "It's finished. It's not on anymore!"
I remember my little heart cracking ever so slightly. And that was my first....of many.....breakups!!!

In the 80s his smile was surpassed by the cheeky grin of Marti Pellow, lead singer from Wet Wet Wet.
This was back in the day when not all bands were manufactured. They could play instruments,write their own material and actually sing.
And boy could he sing! The velvet tone to his voice made me melt!!!
I'm just going to have a moment out, to relive my youth!

Last year I went to see Wet Wet Wet in concert in the O2/ 3 arena/ The Point or whatever its called now! My teenage hormones came rushing back once he appeared on the stage.
He's looking as good now, as back then.

Last night Marti was appearing in the National Concert Hall with the RTE Concert Orchestra, singing classic songs from stage and screen. I coerced a friend into going and off we went.

There was a strange mix in the audience. Half were regular attendees at the NCH who had never been to a "pop" concert and the other half were Wet Wet Wet fans who had never been to the National Concert Hall before!
Me? I was a bit of both!
Though I must admit I was a bit of a theater snob, as we were queuing up for the bar before it started. The women behind me were disgusted when they saw the sign that said
"No drinks or food in the auditorium."
"WHAT?" they exclaimed. "You can take drinks into the Bord Gais Theater. Why not here?"
"Because, darhling," I said
in my inside voice, I'm not that brazen
"You can't really have your audience chomping on crisps during Nessun Dorma, or getting drunk during Vivaldi's Seasons".

We took our seats and waited for the show to start.
And boy, was Marti not AMAZING!
From the first dulcet note he had the audience in the palm of his hand. He didn't even let the fact that his fly was open for the first few songs, knock him off stride!

He sang for over two hours, each note totally on point.
As they would say in The X Factor!
When he finished with his classic Love is all around, the whole audience was on its feet singing and swaying.
There was an older couple  a few rows in front of us, who looked a tad embarrassed to be on their feet. They looked like regular Concert Hall goers, who saw it as sacrilegious to be on your feet during a performance, but couldn't help themselves.

He went off to tumultuous applause, with the crowd baying for more. The poor orchestra just stood there, not knowing what to do. Encores are not the usual thing after an orchestral piece, yet this crowd wanted more. After a few minutes tradition prevailed and the orchestra were beckoned off.
This did not detract from a magical night.
I doubt very much if Harry Styles or Niall Horan will be performing solo with an orchestra, in 30 years time!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Winter is coming....

The Lovely Bones, Gone Girl......
All examples of being let down by the film version of the book.To be perfectly honest I don't think any film director, no matter how brilliant he/she is, will ever be able to capture on celluloid, what an author can create with words.

I was late discovering Game of Thrones.
Series 4 had aired before I binged on the box set.
I deliberately  didn't read the books as I didn't want any spoilers. I wanted to experience the shock effect as I watched it.

But now,seeing as the TV show has caught up with the books, that's not going to happen. Having read articles and theories about where the plots may go, I see that there is a lot of background information that can only be filled in by reading the books.

today I was very excited when this was delivered to my house, courtesy of Amazon.

Guess how I'm going to spend the long winter nights, when the snows get deeper and the winds howl around my ears.
See you in the Spring!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Come into my garden........

Another day's outing took us to the beautiful Butchart gardens in Victoria. It seems that many years ago Mrs Butchart was fed up looking at an abandoned limestone quarry on their estate ( as in Downton Abbey-type estate, not county council) and so decided to plant a few flowers. This was the result.

Bet you'll never guess what my favourite flowers are?

I  am not a green-fingered person, in fact I hate anything to do with the garden. But I was so inspired by my day in Butchart that I planned there and then to get working on my lawn when I got home and to create a serene and beautiful space around my house.

Fast forward three weeks.

"This feckin' lawn. I'm fed up mowing it. Think I'll tarmac the whole feckin' lot of it!"

Sunday, August 9, 2015


We stayed for four days with our friend Laila, who has a fabulous house in Victoria, Vancouver.

On the first morning we went for a "stroll" on Horth Head, which was practically on her back doorstep.
If I lived so close to such a fabulous place, I'd be way fitter than I am!!!

Half way up the ascent we asked Laila
"Is it safe to go walking here?"

Laila shrugged and said
"It's fine. There's the odd sighting of a cougar, but not recently."

We stopped in our tracks. We had been concerned about the presence of muggers, rapists or serial killers, you know, the usual worries. We never thought of COUGARS!
Oh sh*t!  Where are Zuma and Rubble when you need them!

Maybe the walk to Raharney isn't so bad after all!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Nailed it!

I was getting ready for Ladies Day at Kilbeggan Races.I attempted to put on my favourite dress that I had last wore in May. It refused to zip up.
Alas, a side effect of a month's holiday in America.
There was a rapid root through my wardrobe to find a change of outfit. This left me less time to get ready. As I raced out the door I put in two tubes of glue into my bag, one for my false nails and one for my false eyelashes!
Hoping I wouldn't get them mixed up!

In Kilbeggan I was in deep conversation with my friend. I felt a tap on my shoulder and a lady asked me
"Have you been chosen for the final of the Best -Dressed?".
"No!" I replied excitedly.
"Here is a wrist band to gain entry to the marquee."

I obviously extended my wrist too eagerly. As she was about to clip on the wrist band I gasped in horror.
My thumb nail went whizzing past her ear!!!
She recoiled in horror.

Needless to say I didn't win!!!

I was reminded of the old nursery rhyme.

For want of a nail - 
For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a nail.

But in this case it should go...
For want of a nail a free trip to New York was lost!!!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Rocky Mountain High

We headed off on a road trip to Banff to experience the Rockies.
Ireland is famous for beautiful scenery such as the Lakes of Killarney, Glendalough and the cliffs of Moher, to name but a few.
But I can honestly say that I have never seen as beautiful a sight as when we rounded a corner and saw Lake Louise against the snow capped mountains. It was literally breath-taking.

We headed to a local hotel for "refreshments".

 I was delighted to have my Game of Thrones moment!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Ride 'em, cowboy.

Our main reason for going to Calgary was of course, The Stampede! It boasts one of the world's largest rodeos, parades, side shows, chuck wagon races, concerts and First Nations expositions.

 Our first purchase was the obligatory cowboy hat.
The opening parade started. When last year's champions were "flown in", for some unknown reason Woody from Toystory came to mind!
Then the competitions started. I had no idea what to expect. All I knew is that you had to hang on for 8 seconds. Marks were awarded....for what, I am none the wiser. After the first few rounds, I was totally in to it,
All I'll say is, the chances of you fathering children after a few years of doing this, must be greatly reduced!

One item that I loved was the 50/50 raffle. This was where you could buy a ticket for the chance to win 50% of the gate's takings. On that day I could have won 40,000 CAD!
Which I didn't!
I think it's something the GAA should consider for All-Ireland Final day.

Afterwards we headed to the marque for Nashville North, for the authentic Country music experience.
Later on, the singer Taylor Panczak announced that he was recording the video for his new song and would we help him out?
Did someone say there was a camera?
I was up as quick as a flash at the stage front, waving my arms and screaming like a hormonal teenager at a One Direction concert!
Must keep an eye out on You Tube for my debut!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

You'll never take our .........

Taking a little break from blogging about my Canada/USA holiday!

Last night Sinéad and I headed to Trim Castle for the special screening of the Oscar winning film Braveheart to commemorate its 20th anniversary. In the film Trim Castle was used as the location for the city of York during the 1298 Battle of York.

Some people obviously went to much more effort than we did to get into the spirit of the occasion.

The highlight of the show was viewing the film on a 60 meter screen. There was something magical about seeing the film against the wall of the castle that it was filmed in.

Of course the loudest cheer of the night was for the famous "You'll never take our freedom" speech.

One thing I hadn't noticed the first time I watched it, was the amount of blood and gore. During the battle scenes there were arms and legs flying everywhere and faces being bashed in by axes.
It made Game of Thrones look like an episode of Little House on the Prairie!